It was two years ago that James Franco agreed to face a comedic firing squad on a Comedy Central Roast.
He went in expecting it to be a tough room but he did not expect to leave feeling gay bashed.
Among the jokes:
‘I don’t think James Franco is necessarily gay or straight. I think he literally can’t open his eyes enough to see who he’s fucking,’ said Sarah Silverman.
Host Seth Rogen asked: ‘Who is the real James Franco? Is he an artist? Is he an actor? Is he a scholar? He’s tough to pin down; although I’ve heard many guys have been able to do it.’
In an interview with The Independent, Franco calls out as homophobic some of the jokes that night as well as some of the comedy in the films in which he’s appeared.
‘I was a little shocked, I didn’t write those jokes [at the roast], they did. I didn’t make any gay jokes. There is still a little bit of homophobia. I think part of it, when I do films with Seth, it’s more playing on straight male anxiety about any sort of same-sex interaction.
‘To me that is really a comment on a larger anxiety and not really anything about denigrating or criticizing anything about the gay community.’
Franco has not let jokes discourage him from tackling gay-themed projects.
He produced and starred in I Am Michael this year opposite Zachary Quinto. Franco played the lead role of gay activist Michael Glatze who went from editing a gay lifestyle magazine to denouncing homosexuality.
He has also played gay roles in Howl, Milk and The Broken Tower and directed Interior. Leather Bar. which reimagined 40 minutes of bondage footage cut from the film Cruising more than 30 years earlier.